Wisconsin company that provides dental exams for troops is expanding
By DAVID WAHLBERG | The Wisconsin State Journal | Published: February 10, 2019
DeFOREST, Wis. (Tribune News Service) — A DeForest company that provides supplies and staff for National Guard troops to receive dental exams has a new contract to deliver dental services to active-duty soldiers in the Army.
Because of the new arrangement, Complete Mobile Dentistry is expanding staff and its facility. The company is building a 5,000-square-foot addition to its 14,000-square-foot headquarters.
Lisa and Ken Hartig, who are married, started the company in 2002 as a dental staffing agency in their Sun Prairie home. Today, the company ships X-ray machines, drills, dental chairs and other equipment to bases in 16 states to conduct annual dental exams for National Guard troops.
In December, the company started working in 22 additional states, staffing dental clinics for the Army. The new business is worth up to $40 million per year for five years from the Department of Defense, including some money shared with subcontractors. The amount is in addition to nearly $4 million per year for the National Guard work.
For the National Guard, “we make sure the soldiers are ready to be deployed or activated in case of an emergency,” said Ken Hartig, vice president of the company. “They may not be getting dental care outside of the military.”
For the active-duty Army soldiers, “we’re their regular dental provider,” he said.
Lisa Hartig, president, said she’s impressed by the soldiers’ dedication. “They’re so upset if they can’t get that tooth fixed and be deployed,” she said. “It’s our job to take care of these men and women who protect us.”
Complete Mobile Dentistry is one of several dental care providers for the military. For the National Guard work, the company partners with La Crosse-based Logistics Health Inc.
The DeForest company has 23 sets of dental exam equipment and nine sets of dental treatment equipment, which it ships around the country from its warehouse.
“We ship out everything; we’re not even allowed to use the military’s paper,” Ken Hartig said. The equipment “might come back from Connecticut on a Tuesday and it needs to be in Colorado on a Thursday.”
The company is adding seven employees at its headquarters, for a total staff there of 23. It is also increasing its staff of dental hygienists and dental assistants from the equivalent of 48 full-time positions to 222; those people are spread out around the country.
Dentists and oral surgeons work at the National Guard and Army clinics as independent contractors.
In addition to expanding its military business, Complete Mobile Dentistry has returned to its roots as a dental staffing agency. After stopping that business in 2005, the company resumed the service in 2015, providing dentists, dental hygienists and dental assistants to dental clinics that have last-minute absences, maternity leaves or permanent openings.
Lisa Hartig, a former dental hygienist, worked for a dental staffing agency in California. When her family, which includes three children, moved to the Madison area, she bought a small dental staffing agency in Milwaukee.
She didn’t envision building a bigger business. “I just wanted to be mom and a hygienist; I never planned to be an entrepreneur,” she said.
But Logistics Health approached the Hartigs about joining its military contract. They decided to bid on it, and the bid was accepted. “We kept growing from there,” Lisa Hartig said.
Ken Hartig previously worked for the American Red Cross in Madison as director of blood collections. Running mobile dental clinics and mobile blood drives is similar, he said.
“We pack up for an event, we send it out, we go do the work and we send it back,” he said.